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Central Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

After edging out the second-place Philadelphia Phillies by just two games the previous year by compiling a somewhat disappointing record of 88-74, the Atlanta Braves resumed their dominance of the N.L. East in 2002.  The Braves captured their eighth straight division title by posting 101 wins, en route to finishing 19 games in front of the runner-up Montreal Expos.  Although the Expos finished well out of contention, their lineup featured one of the senior circuit’s finest all-around players in Vladimir Guerrero.  The right-fielder hit 39 home runs, drove in 111 runs, scored 106 others, batted .336, stole 40 bases, and led the league with 206 hits and 364 total bases.  Guerrero’s outstanding performance earned him a top-five finish in the N.L. MVP voting.

Even though the Braves had no one of Guerrero’s ilk on offense, their exceptional pitching enabled them to establish themselves over the course of the regular season as arguably the team to beat heading into the playoffs.  Featuring a starting rotation that included three of the league’s top pitchers, Atlanta finished well ahead of every other team in the circuit with a team ERA of 3.13.  Tom Glavine compiled a record of 18-11 with a 2.96 ERA.  Kevin Millwood tied Glavine for the team lead with 18 wins, posted an earned run average of 3.24, and led the staff with 178 strikeouts.  Greg Maddux finished 16-6 and placed among the league leaders with a 2.62 ERA.  Meanwhile, after missing most of the previous two seasons with elbow problems, John Smoltz assumed the role of closer, doing a superb job by leading the league with 55 saves.    

Rafael Furcal, Gary Sheffield, and Andruw and Chipper Jones paced the Braves on offense.  Furcal scored 95 runs and stole 27 bases.  Sheffield hit 25 homers, drove in 84 runs, and batted .307.  Andruw went deep 35 times, knocked in 94 runs, and scored 91 others.  Chipper hit 26 home runs and led the team with 100 runs batted in and a .327 batting average.

The St. Louis Cardinals overcame a considerable amount of adversity to claim their second Central Division title in three years.  On June 22, just four days after legendary Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck passed away, pitcher Darryl Kile died unexpectedly from a heart condition in his Chicago hotel room.  

Undeterred by these sobering events, the Cardinals concluded the campaign with a record of 97-65 that left them 13 games ahead of the second-place Houston Astros in the division.  Matt Morris evolved into the Cardinals’ best pitcher in Kile’s absence, finishing 17-9 with a 3.42 ERA.  Replacing the retired Mark McGwire as the team's starting first baseman, veteran Tino Martinez contributed 21 home runs and 75 runs batted in to the offense.  Edgar Renteria drove in 83 runs, batted .305, and stole 22 bases.  Jim Edmonds hit 28 home runs, knocked in 83 runs, scored 96 others, and batted .311.  Albert Pujols earned a second-place finish in the N.L. MVP balloting by hitting 34 home runs, knocking in 127 runs, scoring 118 others, and batting .314.

Also posting impressive numbers were Houston’s Lance Berkman and Chicago’s Sammy Sosa.  Berkman led the Astros to a very respectable second-place finish by scoring 106 runs, batting .292, placing among the league leaders with 42 home runs, and topping the circuit with 128 runs batted in.  Although Sosa’s Cubs didn’t fare nearly as well, finishing fifth in the division, 30 games behind first-place St. Louis, Sosa had another big year, driving in 108 runs, batting .288, and leading the league with 49 homers and 122 runs scored.  

The Western Division featured the league's most competitive race, with just six games separating the top three teams in the final standings.  The defending world-champion Arizona Diamondbacks edged out San Francisco for the top spot, finishing 2 ½ games ahead of the Giants with a record of 98-64.  The Giants’ 95 victories earned them a playoff berth as the league’s wild-card representative.  The Los Angeles Dodgers came up empty-handed even though they won 92 games.

The Dodgers might well have advanced to the postseason had they received a bit more in the way of offense.  Dodger hurlers did their fair share, combining to finish third in the league with a 3.69 team ERA.  However, Los Angeles finished just seventh in the circuit in runs scored (713) and placed 11th in the league in home runs (155).  Shawn Green served as the team’s only true threat on offense, finishing the season with 42 home runs, 114 runs batted in, 110 runs scored, and a .285 batting average.      

Meanwhile, the tandem of Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds once again shouldered the offensive burden for the runner-up Giants.  Kent hit 37 homers, drove in 108 runs, scored 102 others, and batted .313.  Bonds won his second straight MVP trophy by hitting 46 home runs, knocking in 110 runs, scoring 117 others, and leading the league with a .370 batting average, 198 walks, a .582 on-base percentage, and a .799 slugging average.  His 198 walks and .582 on-base percentage both established new single-season major-league records.    

In spite of Bonds’ incredible performance, the Diamondbacks captured the division title due to their superior team balance.  Arizona led the league with 819 runs scored, and their pitching staff featured the circuit’s top two hurlers.  Luis Gonzalez again led the Diamondbacks on offense, hitting 28 home runs, knocking in 103 runs, scoring 90 others, and batting .288.  Steve Finley added 25 homers and 89 runs batted in.  Second baseman Junior Spivey led the club with a .301 batting average and 103 runs scored, while shortstop Tony Womack scored 90 times and stole 29 bases.

The heart and soul of the team remained Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson.  Schilling compiled a 3.23 ERA and finished second in the league to Johnson with a 23-7 record, 316 strikeouts, and 259 innings pitched.  Johnson earned his fourth consecutive Cy Young Award by leading all N.L. hurlers with a 24-5 record, a 2.32 ERA, 334 strikeouts, 260 innings pitched, and eight complete games.  

However, Schilling and Johnson found themselves unable shut down the St. Louis Cardinals, who swept Arizona in the opening round of the playoffs in three straight games.  The Cardinals stunned the Diamondbacks by outscoring them by a combined margin of 20-6 in the three contests.

Meanwhile, San Francisco disposed of Atlanta in five games in the other Division Series, battering Tom Glavine for 13 earned runs in his two starts.  Russ Ortiz posted two of San Francisco’s victories, with Giants pitchers allowing just 16 runs over the course of the five games.  Barry Bonds, Rich Aurilia, and Benito Santiago drove in a combined 17 runs for San Francisco, with Bonds exorcising his playoff demons by hitting three home runs.  The Giants then needed only five games to defeat the Cardinals in the NLCS, although the final three contests were decided by a single run.

The Giants subsequently faced the Anaheim Angels in the World Series, in a battle of West Coast teams.  The Giants appeared to be well on their way to winning their first world championship for the city of San Francisco when they carried a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning of Game Six, after earlier taking a three-games-to-two lead in the Fall Classic.  However, the Angels mounted an enormous comeback, scoring six unanswered runs in the next two innings, to come away with a 6-5 victory.  Anaheim took Game Seven as well by a score of 4-1, denying the Giants their first World Series win in nearly half a century.  Barry Bonds homered four times in defeat for San Francisco.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• February 12 - Omar Minaya became the first Hispanic GM by accepting the position with the Montreal Expos.  Frank Robinson was also announced as the manager of the team, which Major League Baseball ran for the 2002 season.

• May 25 – Barry Bonds hit the 584th home run of his career during a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies, thereby taking over sole possession of fifth place on the all-time home run list.

• August 9 - Barry Bonds hit his 600th home run, joining Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays as the only players to reach that plateau.  

• September 1 – San Francisco’s Jeff Kent became the first second baseman in history to record 100 or more RBIs for six consecutive years.

• September 9 – Randy Johnson reached 300 strikeouts for the fifth consecutive season, extending his major league record.

• September 22 - Greg Maddux joined Cy Young as the only pitchers in major league history to win 15 or more games in 15 consecutive seasons.

• Colorado pitcher Jason Jennings (16-8) earned N.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• San Diego outfielder Mike Darr was killed in a spring training auto accident.

• Shawn Green hit four home runs in a game on May 23.  He also doubled and singled in the contest, to go six-for-six, with an all-time single-game record 19 total bases.

• Arizona’s Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling became the first teammates to strike out more than 300 men in the same season.

• The Cardinals lost broadcaster Jack Buck on June 18 following a long illness.

• St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile died suddenly of a heart condition on June 22 in his hotel room in Chicago.

• Brian Giles of the Pirates hit .298 with 38 homers, 103 RBI, and 135 walks.

• Luis Castillo of the Marlins led the league with 48 stolen bases.  He also compiled the longest hitting streak of the season, batting safely in 35 consecutive games at one point.

• Colorado’s Larry Walker hit 26 home runs, knocked in 104 runs, and finished second in the league with a .338 batting average.  

• Colorado teammate Todd Helton hit 30 homers, drove in 109 runs, scored 107 others, and batted .329.

• Philadelphia’s Bobby Abreu batted .308, stole 31 bases, collected 104 walks, and topped the circuit with 50 doubles.

Seasons of the National League

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Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ARI 2332 5508 819 1471 783 .225 283 41 165 92 46 2331 .348 .344 .703 130 53 62
ATL 2321 5495 708 1428 669 .158 280 25 164 76 39 2250 .336 .237 .653 147 49 67
CHN 2294 5496 706 1351 676 .194 259 29 200 63 21 2268 .311 .277 .628 117 39 78
CIN 2353 5470 709 1386 678 .182 297 21 169 116 52 2232 .313 .272 .645 119 40 95
COL 2393 5512 778 1508 726 .225 283 41 152 103 53 2329 .340 .319 .718 133 50 49
FLO 2318 5496 699 1433 653 .170 280 32 146 177 73 2215 .294 .248 .603 129 49 59
HOU 2342 5503 749 1441 719 .188 291 32 167 71 27 2297 .344 .290 .701 144 37 64
LAN 2302 5554 713 1464 693 .225 286 29 155 96 37 2273 .330 .326 .685 140 44 67
MIL 2329 5415 627 1369 597 .163 269 29 139 94 50 2113 .298 .240 .592 144 34 79
MON 2262 5479 735 1432 695 .195 300 36 162 118 64 2290 .337 .282 .658 123 42 108
NYN 2389 5496 690 1409 650 .197 238 22 160 87 42 2171 .368 .281 .722 142 30 75
PHI 2260 5523 710 1428 676 .181 325 41 165 104 43 2330 .329 .272 .627 129 39 67
PIT 2343 5330 641 1300 610 .174 263 20 142 86 49 2029 .318 .259 .623 97 41 68
SDN 2372 5515 662 1393 627 .168 243 29 136 71 44 2102 .300 .234 .606 132 41 45
SFN 2264 5497 783 1465 751 .257 300 35 198 74 21 2429 .379 .360 .788 136 52 68
SLN 2366 5505 787 1475 758 .183 285 26 175 86 42 2337 .297 .272 .631 123 49 83

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ARI 584 98 64 1448 1303 421 6067 1361 170 108.740 631 674 14 5 40 48 11
ATL 630 101 59 1467 1058 554 6131 1302 123 100.680 511 565 3 2 57 40 4
CHN 552 67 95 1442 1333 606 6236 1373 167 132.660 690 759 11 3 23 44 2
CIN 624 78 84 1455 980 550 6296 1502 173 94.070 693 774 2 1 42 52 2
COL 668 73 89 1424 920 582 6345 1554 225 126.370 826 898 1 0 43 42 6
FLO 623 79 83 1458 1104 631 6340 1449 151 105.800 706 763 11 6 36 55 7
HOU 642 84 78 1444 1219 546 6205 1423 151 169.870 643 695 2 2 43 38 3
LAN 585 92 70 1458 1132 555 6139 1311 165 86.430 598 643 4 2 56 33 3
MIL 608 56 106 1433 1026 666 6339 1468 199 142.610 757 821 7 3 32 64 8
MON 599 83 79 1452 1088 508 6246 1475 165 89.340 642 718 9 1 39 51 5
NYN 612 75 86 1444 1107 543 6212 1408 163 97.700 626 703 9 6 36 22 7
PHI 611 80 81 1450 1075 570 6222 1381 153 82.010 671 724 5 3 47 68 5
PIT 619 72 89 1411 920 572 6131 1447 163 90.120 665 730 2 1 47 34 5
SDN 621 66 96 1436 1108 582 6333 1522 177 213.760 743 815 5 2 40 51 4
SFN 579 95 66 1437 992 523 6056 1349 116 55.950 567 616 10 5 43 36 2
SLN 634 97 65 1445 1009 547 6135 1355 141 151.950 595 648 4 2 42 40 2

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ARI 2668 6943 5319 1524 100 .982 17363 77 43 0 13
ATL 2647 7439 5459 1849 131 .981 17607 96 55 0 12
CHN 2684 6951 5297 1524 130 .943 17295 112 54 2.00 15
CIN 2748 7387 5426 1811 150 .956 17446 67 42 0 28
COL 2759 7204 5342 1736 126 .978 17118 87 23 0 12
FLO 2662 7216 5420 1670 126 .965 17477 93 61 0 6
HOU 2804 7055 5261 1697 97 .980 17336 104 36 0 5
LAN 2680 7204 5390 1713 101 .978 17496 110 53 1.00 12
MIL 2686 7153 5380 1657 116 .974 17186 109 49 1.00 12
MON 2652 7358 5348 1843 167 .968 17435 85 44 0 12
NYN 2776 7202 5374 1659 169 .966 17314 151 53 1.00 11
PHI 2597 7119 5289 1729 101 .959 17399 74 34 0 12
PIT 2783 7216 5145 1940 131 .977 16953 94 44 1.00 12
SDN 2860 7187 5323 1715 149 .951 17229 76 40 0 14
SFN 2700 7233 5460 1662 111 .986 17248 87 36 0 7
SLN 2877 7265 5432 1709 124 .954 17354 86 34 0 9

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Arizona Diamondbacks 98 64 3198977 1 1303
San Francisco Giants 95 66 3253203 2 992
Los Angeles Dodgers 92 70 3131255 3 1132
Colorado Rockies 73 89 2737838 4 920
San Diego Padres 66 96 2220601 5 1108

Central

team W L Att Rk SOP
St. Louis Cardinals 97 65 3011756 1 1009
Houston Astros 84 78 2517357 2 1219
Cincinnati Reds 78 84 1855787 3 980
Pittsburg Pirates 72 89 1784988 4 920
Chicago Cubs 67 95 2693096 5 1333
Milwaukee Brewers 56 106 1969153 6 1026

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Atlanta Braves 101 59 2603484 1 1058
Montreal Expos 83 79 812045 2 1088
Philadelphia Philies 80 81 1618467 3 1075
Florida Marlins 79 83 813118 4 1104
New York Mets 75 86 2804838 5 1107

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Tagged:
Albert Pujols, Anaheim Angels, Andruw Jones, Atlanta Braves, Barry Bonds, Benito Santiago, Bobby Abreu, Brian Giles, Chipper Jones, Curt Schilling, Darryl Kile, Edgar Renteria, Gary Sheffield, Greg Maddux, Houston Astros, Jack Buck, Jason Jennings, Jeff Kent, Jim Edmonds, John Smoltz, Junior Spivey, Kevin Millwood, Lance Berkman, Larry Walker, Luis Castillo, Luis Gonzalez, Matt Morris, Mike Darr, Omar Minaya, Rafael Furcal, Randy Johnson, Rich Aurilia, Russ Ortiz, San Francisco Giants, Scott Rolen, Scott Spiezio, Shawn Green, Steve Finley, Tino Martinez, Todd Helton, Tom Glavine, Tony Womack, Vladimir Guerrero

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